Whether you consider it a guilty pleasure or go-to when times get tough, mac & cheese is the ultimate comfort food. The beloved dish merges creamy, cheesy flavors with delectable pasta that never fails to make your taste buds sing. This recipe puts a unique twist on the classic pasta meal by casting the spotlight on one of our favorite superfoods: butternut squash.
The savory vegetable adds a touch of sweetness, cranks up the recipe’s creaminess factor, and coats the dish with gorgeous, golden color. This one-of-a-kind recipe also incorporates nutritious ingredients that won’t sabotage your waistline, like whole grain elbow noodles and reduced fat cheddar cheese. Dish up this Creamy Mac & Cheese with Butternut Squash at your next dinner party for a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
Yields: 6 servings | Calories: 417 | Total Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 239mg | Carbohydrates: 65g | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 7g | Protein: 14g | SmartPoints: 14 |
- 2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) dry whole grain elbow noodles
- 3-4 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
- 1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (or freshly grated)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black or white pepper
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley for garnish, optional
Boil noodles according to package directions and drain.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8" x 8" baking pan. Add squash to cold, salted water in a pot and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for about 20 minutes, until fork tender. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the boiling liquid.
Add half the squash and half of the reserved boiling water to a blender. Puree until smooth and creamy. Pour into a bowl. Repeat with remaining half of the squash and the water.
Mix elbow noodles with squash and olive oil. Sprinkle in cheese, salt, nutmeg, and pepper. Mix well. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan and cover well with foil. Bake for about 20 minutes, remove foil and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until cooked through.
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